Sheridan Le Fanu

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Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu (August 28, 1814February 7, 1873) was an Irish writer of Gothic tales and mystery novels. He was the premier ghost story writer of the nineteenth century and had a seminal influence on the development of this genre in the Victorian era.



Sheridan Le Fanu was born at 45 Lower Dominick Street, Dublin, into a literary family of Huguenot origins. Both his grandmother Alicia Sheridan Le Fanu and his great-uncle Richard Brinsley Sheridan were playwrights. (His niece Rhoda Broughton would become a successful novelist.) Within a year of his birth his family moved to the Royal Hibernian Military School in the Phoenix Park, where his father, a Church of Ireland clergyman, was appointed to the chaplaincy of the establishment. The Phoenix Park and the adjacent village and parish church of Chapelizod were to feature in Le Fanu's later stories.[1]

In 1826 the family moved to Abington, County Limerick, where Le Fanu's father Thomas took up his second south of Ireland rectorship. Although he had a tutor, Le Fanu also used his father's library to educate himself. His father was a stern Protestant churchman and imbued his family with a religious sense that bordered on Calvinism.[1]

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